Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXV (Moorcock + Brown + Rosel George Brown + Frederic Brown + Anthology)

A varied lot for sure…

One of the more intriguing is an anthology of nuclear themed SF containing stories by Sturgeon, Merril, Ward Moore, Ellison, Wilhelm, Spinrad, etc.

A Michael Moorcock novel An Alien Heat (1972)—I’ve had little luck with his SF in the past so hopefully this bucks the trend.

A fun 50s vision by Frederic Brown…

And an unknown quantity in Rosel George Brown’s Galactic Sibyl Sue Blue (1968).  I’ve wanted to read her short stories for quite a long time but wasn’t going to pass up her most well known work.

Thoughts?

1. Countdown to Midnight: Twelve Great Stories About Nuclear War, ed. H. Bruce Franklin (1984)

(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1984 edition)

From the back cover: “NUKE TIME.  We are a people grown up in the presence of an ultimate weapon, the nuclear bomb.  This creation of the 20th Century science has become the obsessive problem behind all social thinking.  Yet all projections of this problem are by definition science fiction.  Nuclear war has not happened, yet some startling books and films, future-fiction by necessity, have riveted the world’s attention.  H. Bruce Franklin has gathered together twelve of the finest science fiction stories about the nuke problem.  As he writes in his introduction: “Science fiction does give us some unique insights into the sources, dangers and dimensions of the nuclear menace.  But since science fiction helped us get into this mess, perhaps it is not asking too much of it to help us find our way out.”  In this book are presented some solutions, some projects, and more than a little hope.”

2. Galactic Sibyl Sue Blue (variant title: Sibyl Sue Blue), Rosel George Brown (1968)

P1050113

(Hoot von Zitzewitz’s cover for the 1968 edition)

From the back cover: “THE FUZZ: VINTAGE 1990.  When Sibyl Sue Blue, unique police sergeant of the future, smokes a benzale cigarette, she has a strange dream about the disappearance of her husband on the mysterious planet of Radix.  So she pulls of her wig, rouges her knees, and goes off to Radix with the sinister millionaire Stuart Grant, and crew, in his space ship.  She finds her husband there, horribly transformed, and is in great danger of the same fate herself, unless she can get back to Earth in time.  But this presents difficulties, because only Sibyl and the loathsome Dr. Beadle are in any shape to fly the ship, and neither one of them has ever done it before…”

3. An Alien Heat, Michael Moorcock (1972)

(Sue Greene’s cover for the 1973 edition)

From the back cover: “Earth of the remote future—technology has advanced to the point where death no longer exists, birth hardly at all, and sex is a dying interest.  The remaining population is rich, decadent, and bizarre.  Nature is landscaped into artful parodies, skies are tinted by artists, snow falls on the tropics, and space travelers occasionally call.  This then is the backdrop of a society where anything can, should, and usually does happen—delightfully comic fantasy but also a sharp social satire in the tradition of Anthony Burgess, Oscar Wilde, and H. G. Wells.”

4. The Lights in the Sky are Stars, Fredric Brown (1953)

(Uncredited cover for the 1963 edition)

From the back cover: “The year is 1997.  The Man is Max Andrews.  He has known the wonder of rockets blasting off into space—the terrible joy of conquering the unknown.  He has tasted the dry alien air of Mars, and has helped others reach Venus and the Moon.  He is a man who lives only to touch the stars—a man who will not be stopped by the timid and the envious—the earthbound who would keep him from the lights in the sky.”

21 Replies to “Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CXV (Moorcock + Brown + Rosel George Brown + Frederic Brown + Anthology)”

    1. Looks like a fun collection. Although, I get the feeling that I’ve read a chunk of the stories in it already… The problem with reading mostly single author collections vs. anthologies.

  1. “An Alien Heat” is an excellent first volume in an eclectic novel mashed together from several literary sources.Perhaps it is too derivative though,and the various influences don’t necessarily meld together…..I don’t know.

    It has an antiquated feeling that combined with the concerns of modern sf,is fun and exciting to read.Moorcock was a relentless experimenter,it’s a pity he wrote so much and didn’t consolidate his best stuff.

    1. I loved the Dancers at the End of Time series when they came out, but I can only guess at how well they have stood the test of time. But yeah, they were the first Moorcock novels I read and every other one I read after them were disappointments. (Except for Behold the Man, which blew away my mind back in the 70’s.) The man apparently could really crank out novels, which was really good for his pocketbook, but not so much for us readers.

      1. I think the three volume novel should survive among the classics of sf.The’ve been published in the Gollancz Classics series and were included in David Pringle’s “Science Fiction The One Hundred Best Novels”.They seem two strong recommendations,but obviously there needs to be something deeper to say about them in writing,to confirm their longevity chances.

        I definitely think the’re among Moorcock’s best stuff.They combine wit,characterization,vivid dialogue and ideas handsomely,but it seems so derivative and antiquated,that it is probably too whimsical at times.It certainly doesn’t seem as powerful as other classics of the time,such as by J.G.Ballard and Robert Holdstock for example,but seem to have as good a chance as anything he wrote to last.

        “Behold the Man” was a seminal piece at the time,but was originally published as a novella,which was the one that won the Nebula.I only read the novel,but is quite a strong work,that made a big impact at the time,and probably has more literary gumption than TDATEOT.

        1. I haven’t read The Black Corridor, so it might be as good as it sounds. With all of the books that Moorcock wrote there must some gems scattered throughout. But after a certain point, I gave up trying to find them.

          I have read both the novel and novella versions of Behold the Man and I actually prefer the novella version. Both are strong works, but I felt that the novel just had extra bits of padding that didn’t particularly add anything and maybe even blunted the impact of the story a bit. (I also had the same problem with Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon, but that’s a complaint for another thread.) However, at this date, the novel is probably a lot easier to find than the novella.

  2. I’ve heard from those I trust that the Dancers at the End of Time sequence of novels by Moorcock, of which An Alien Heat is the first volume, is some of his best work, by far. Apparently they are superb and quite ‘experimental’, similar in some ways to his Jerry Cornelius series. I have them all, waiting to be read! (once I’ve finished the current Theodore Sturgeon book I’m on, at the moment)

      1. Yes he spearheaded a new movement in sf with “New Worlds”,and helped the career of others such as the exponential J.G.Ballard.

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